Saturday, June 30

Surrendering to the pressure . . .

Yeah, I know: I'm never here. Partly it's because I really don't care for writing about myself directly (of course, all my books are about myself--specifically, how I see the world--at least indirectly, but still . . .).

I've never forgotten a general social maxim from my dissipated youth:

Great minds discuss ideas.
Average minds discuss events.
Small minds discuss people.

This, like so many bits of Received Wisdom, is less an observation than an ideal . . . and one that seems more honor'd in the breach than th' observance, as Hamlet might say.

Here's the Business Part:

CAINE BLACK KNIFE is grinding its way through the editorial process, somewhere in Purgatory--erm, that is, in the literary void between Del Rey (which is the contractee for publication) and Ballantine, Bertlesmann AG's local corporate viceroy, which is currently the employer of Caine's editor. It appears to be tentatively slated for publication in mid-2008, roughly the same time-frame as LUKE SKYWALKER AND THE SHADOWS OF MINDOR. Which seems like a long time to wait, but, y'know, right now I'm just grateful it's coming out at all.


I've been corresponding once more with Dan Moran (Daniel Keys Moran, for those heretics among you who don't know him--you can buy his books on Amazon, and you should). He did me the favor of looking over CBK for me with a semi-critical eye. I say "semi-critical" because he's also a long-time Caine fan . . . in fact, he's married to Amy Stout (now Stout-Moran), who was the editor who bought HEROES DIE for Del Rey.

Anyway, here's the point: Just for fun, I thought I'd send him a copy of the late, lamented REAL FLASH GORDON. But when I opened the file, some of the formatting was corrupted, so I've been cleaning it up, and in the process discovering how much I really like my own writing. I always say I write the kind of books I like to read. Well, I'm telling the truth. Even my lightweight crap. Especially my lightweight crap. I guess because I was writing to exactly my own sense of humor, this book tickles the hell out of me.

I just wish I could find a concept for a book or two of my own that is as much flat-out fun as FLASH.

I must have been in a REALLY good mood while I was writing that.

That's all.


AeW said...

So, who does one pay how much to get their hands on a copy of the Real Flash Gordon?

(you don't need to honor this with an answer -- I actually know the answer, but after a review like that, by the author himself... is it possible NOT to wonder? =)

Otherwise, good to have an approximate date on Caine Black Knife, even if it's so far out in the future!

As for the piece of wisdom, it's why great minds are lost, average minds are miserable, and small minds rule the world.

RobB said...


As always good to see you posting.

SO what you are telling us is that chances are good that we might have two new MWS novels next year? Sounds like good news to me.

Who knows, with the SciFi channel premiering a new Flash Gordon show in the near future, you FG novel may see the light of day.



Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MWS said...

Sorry. Even relatively cools posts are not allowed on this blog if they're anonymous. You want to know how to get AI WAR from Dan, ask him yourself. He's got a blog too, y'know.

Chris said...

My bad. I hit the wrong key and suffered premature posting. And no, I wasn't aware that he had a blog, so thanks for the heads up. After not thinking of Trent for quite some time, it is a little surreal to be reminded of the author, find his blog, and see that his latest entry actually references the book.

Anonymous said...

Am I to understand that although you can't legally sell the Real Flash Gordon manuscript, you can send it electronically to friends?

-I. S. W.

MWS said...

As I understand it, the manuscript is the property of Harper Entertainment, which commissioned it and paid me for it in full. However -- as long as the ms doesn't receive general circulation (which would destroy the value of their investment, even though it's an investment they never intend to cash in) -- it's not a violation for me to share it with a few friends, as long as no money changes hands. I can't sell it, that's all.

I am, however, careful about who I send it to, since it would only take one unscrupulous (or over-enthusiastic) fan-person to (for example) post it on the Internet and leave me vulnerable to legal action.

FK said...

You mean to tell me that the Acts of Caine aren't flat out fun? I don't know if I could handle RFG then. It's good to hear news on Caine Black Knife. Did you ever get any additional feedback on the Acts omnibus, unlikely as such a tome may actually be?

Shehzad said...

Welcome back, Matt. While I'm disappointed about having to wait until next year to see CBK, at the very least there'll be TWO MWS novels to look ahead to. Ah well, I'll manage...

La Gringa said...

Matt -

I'm so excited about the Caine novel. Wish I was still at Del rey so UI could work on it.

Hope you're doing well, my friend.


MWS said...

Hey, Colleen! Thanks for the sentiment. Drop a line sometime, huh?

Bob said...

Hey Matt,

Good news, bruddah! Yeah, any time you wanna shuttle off RFG to moi, feel free....

Still gonna see you this fall?


Aaron said...

Nice update. 2008 sucks, but I'll have both books in hardback; this I assure you.

Until then....flash gordon eh? :suggestive wink:

EricC said...

Yeah ... RFG ... been watching the old movie serials lately. I'd love to read it ... but you knew that.

Anyway, if you have a chance, email me at ericcoleman at gmail dot com. Lost your email address when you moved emails. Life has been interesting. It would be nice to catch up (I need to chatter at her royal highness as well sometime)

Oddly enough, I am very much more Eric nowadays ...

Adam said...

Every time I see Caine Black Knife mentioned on this blog, it sends tingles up my spine. I can't wait--I guess it's time to start reading through Heroes Die and Blade of Tyshalle for the umpteenth time...

Also, what happened to the deadcities forum? I'm at a loss trying to figure out where to go for good book suggestions/discussions.

Rob/Baylen said...

Hey the old deadcities/frameshift board was....deleted. There's a new one up at that Chris Billett was nice enough to make.

Nathan said...

Speaking of DKM, he mentioned that CAINE BLACK KNIFE is the first of a trilogy, which was news to me. Good news, in fact. Cool beans.

Can't wait for late '08.

Rob Locke said...

Moran said it was the first of a trilogy? *slaps forehead*

Well this was funny (to me). I was looking through the author endorsments to Scott Lynches Lies of Locke Lamora, and I thought "these are pretty hum-drum responses."

"Engagingly entertaining." "Hugely enjoyable."

Then I got to Matts, which reads very differently than all the others: "Scott Lynch is a con man, a conjuror, a wickedly entertaining juggler of words with knives up his sleeves and hatchets down his back. By the time you realize he's dangerous, you're already bleeding."

Ok... that was awesome. You just had to write the review like you'd write a novel. ;)

MWS said...

Yup. Loved the book. Scott's the best new fantasist of the decade.

Then he didn't even send me an ARC of RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES.


How soon they grow up, and slip away . . .

Though I might hit him up for a cover quote for CBK, because, y'know, he outsells me at least ten-to-one.

MWS said...

Oh, and CBK is not (technically) the first of a trilogy. It's a semi-stand-alone (in that it resolves the main thematic issues it raises, but leaves some unresolved plot-tensions as a sort-of-cliffhanger leading into the next book).

The next book is the end of my current contract with Del Rey. If they want it to be a trilogy, they're gonna have to pony up for another one.

And I suspect they're gonna wait for some sales numbers before they make that call.

Nathan said...

Check out the dedication in Red Seas Under Red Skies.

Capriccio said...

Thanks ever so much for the news on CAINE BLACK KNIFE. I can't lie and say it hasn't been the main reason I keep checking your blog (though I've enjoyed all of it).

I won't even complain about the long wait. Red Seas Under Red Skies is about to come out here, so I can't complain. And I have you to thank for recommending Lies.

And Nathan, I finally actually picked up and read A Song of Ice and Fire. Took me long enough. Oh, but was it worth it! It's pretty much belittled everything else in the genre I'd read before. Which I said about Lies too. And Heroes Die. So, thanks for all of that.

(I had to log in to the JC to see if this was actually you. This is Wedge 88, in the case of any confusion. I hadn't been there in years. Why is my name blue now? =D Cheers!)

Dan Moran said...

Great minds discuss ideas.
Average minds discuss events.
Small minds discuss people.

My sister tells a story of working in a restaurant when she was young, where this precept was quoted -- the crowd immediately started trying to decide where the various people they knew fit into which category ...


Semi-critical is probably fair -- I've read Heroes Die compulsively and the second novel repeatedly -- you'd have had a hard time coming up with a Caine story that really wouldn't have worked for me at all. That said, CBK is a kick in the teeth on the raw merits.

Flash Gordon got put aside for Harry Potter, I'm sorry to say. Finished Potter today, will probably finish Flash tomorrow. I'm not going to write about Flash on my blog -- no point in teasing people who can't read it -- but it is a very nice piece of work so far. Any possibility you could rub off the serial numbers, buy back the rights, and publish it as "The Real Joe Blow?"

WarlordGrego said...

Matt, glad to hear from you.

What happened to Frameshift?

Anyways, I'm really looking forward to both books.

WarlordGrego said...

BTW, I'm Squall Chitose on EZBoard :P

Rob Locke said...

It DID happen!

For Matthew Woodring Stover,
a friendly sail on the horizon.

Non destiti, nunquam desistam.

(something about never giving up)

Rizumu said...

You know, it's a little sad that this blog isn't kept up to date. I'm certainly waiting eagerly for more books, both in the vein of Heroes Die and otherwise. Sadly The Real Flash Gordon isn't available to buy or I would have gotten that instantly. Talk about wanting to read something.

And on that note, I noticed that somewhere else you mentioned the possibility of the books ending the Caine books because of bad sales and packaging and whatnot. So, here's an opinion from a fan on how to improve sales: get someone like Raymond Swanland to do your cover art. Awesome cover art like that can sell anything, I believe.

Hope to see more from you soon!

Tim said...

Man, I love the coverart for Blade. It's hardly "bad". How does that work anyway, Matt? Do you get a bunch of different versions and choose, or are you as surprised as we are when your copy shows up in the mail?

Mark said...

I've purchase all of your least once. Five or Six times for Blade of Tyshalle. Four to Six copies of Heroes Die. Will there be a hardback release of Caine: Black Knife?

Further more, I am a Flash Gordon fan. Wish that I could read your resurrection of the first American SciFi hero.

Your treatment of 'Revenge of the Sith' made me see more clearly what Lucas intended. As a renewed fan of SW - I appreciate that your writing brought me back to that far away place.

You are my favorite living writer...Cheers!!!!

John said...

I know this may not be the best place to ask the question - but at some point during "Heroes Die" or "Blade of Tyshalle", Caine makes a statement along the lines of standing on a cliff, tired of everything and jumping into the unknown. Now I've reread through both books and must have missed that part again. Unless, of course, it was in neither book to begin with. That particular passage had a great impact on me and I was curious if someone could help me find it. Thank you very much

Shane said...

I don't think it was in either book. There weren't really any cliffs in Heroes Die, and he couldn't really walk in Overworld in BoT, so I don't think so.

But... in Heroes Die, he did leap off into a well-like thing in the Pit when he was breaking Lamorak and Talann out of jail, and I seem to remember something about jumping into the unknown there. But that doesn't sound as thought provoking or impacting as you make it sound like.

The only other thing I can think of is when Caine is locked away in the Pit in Blade of Tyshalle, and he's sort of trapped inside his own head for an entire chapter. That's by far my favorite chapter in BoT, and while he wasn't contemplating jumping off of any literal cliffs there, I could see you coming up with some sort of metaphorical ones in there.

I don't have a copy of the book on hand, but I remember it being in the latter part of the novel, maybe 2/3 to 3/4ths of the way in or so.

Hope that helps.

Michael said...

On pg 779 of BoT Caine is talking to Deliann who says, "You found yourself on a precipice, in the dark. So you jumped." and Caine says, "Every day, Kris. Every fucking day."

GameCreator said...

The power of search:

Cliff in Heroes Die (at least 4 mentions, including the artificial cliff Caine almost considers climbing)
Cliff in Blade (at least 16 mentions)

I hope those links aren't temporary. If they are, search for Stovers books on and use the Search Inside feature.

Joe said...

Hey Matt, got any favorites in the presidential race?

Joe (from the Minneapolis RotS signing; made you sign roundabouts six books--sorry 'bout that)

Anonymous said...

Hey Matt,

I just read the "yet another interview" link and noticed that you said you may be willing to open the Earth / Overworld realm to other writers. I would love to try my hand at a short story or something using your world.

With your permission, of course.

And if you want I could send you what I manage to some up with.

Ryan Anningson

tanyam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tanyam said...

Today, just after finishing a bit of research for the company I am working with, I someone who lives in the charchol pastel memory of your mind. someone from danville...someone from forty yearss ago...

Who was that tall, red-headed kid with freckles, and who surely I must have been in love with if second graders can be in love?

Matt awesome...
Greetings from long ago...another freckle face geek...

Natasha Alia said...

Ahoy Stover! =)
I was introduced to your writing by a younger sibling who was very much impressed by your insightful literary style. He recommended Shatterpoint to me, and what struck me most about the novel was the ethical tussle played out by characters who were complex and always interesting.
Currently, I'm a Philosophy student, but keen on the idea of using fiction as a battleground for philosophical (primarily ethical) debate, and the transmission of complex philosophical ideas and theories.
Problem: an avid writer in my childhood and then my teens, I seem to have dried up =S! Is this entirely out of my control, or is there something I can do to bolster inspiration and motivation to write? Is inspiration something that just comes or it doesn't, or is it subject to manipulation?
Thanks in advance! Natasha =D

suziequzie said...

Hey, I just finished reading "Heroes Die" from my local library, and am very pleased to see a sequel to it AND a work in progress. Thanks. "Blade of Tyshalle" is next, and when "Caine Black Knife" comes out I will be at my local bookstore for it. Looking forward to it.

Rob Locke said...

You guys know that Robert Jordon recently died... He wasn't even finished writing the final book in the Wheel of Time series.

Its a shame, but it got me thinking... some authors become famous or legendary after they die. Jordon was already widely known and inspired (and copied by) many.

Matt-- we love your books but alot of people dont know about you because theres not a whole lot of marketing other than word of mouth.

Rest easy knowing that you just might become a world-wide legend when YOU die! (though the wrong people would be reaping the benefits)

Aaron said...

Matt - miss chatting with you, if only on your blog. Hope you are healthy, sane and doing well in the areas of wealth-management and editing.

Happy thanks giving.

Amaya said...

Good post.

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